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Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – One Step Back, Two Steps Forward
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Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

by April 8, 2024
Overview
Warranty

1-year

Price

RM1,699

Positives

+ Solid CPU performance with practically no thermal throttling
+ Good build quality despite using plastic chassis
+ Great display with Super AMOLED, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and HDR10+ support
+ Satisfying battery life
+ Reliable camera performance
+ Good stereo speaker performance
+ MicroSD slot
+ Knox Vault amps up the security
+ One UI 6.1 with 4 major OS upgrades guaranteed
+ Solid value proposition

Negatives

- Charging speed is painfully slow
- Bezels are thick
- Virtual proximity sensor
- Macro camera is kind of pointless to use
- GPU performance is lacking

Pokde Scoreboard
Pokde Rating
Appearance
8.0
Efficiency
8.0
Features
8.0
Materials
7.5
Performance
6.5
Portability
7.8
User Experience
7.5
Value
8.2
Bottom Line

The Samsung Galaxy A35 5G is designed for those who want a modern smartphone experience without breaking the bank.

7.7
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Samsung Galaxy A35 Unboxing

Samsung Galaxy A35 Unboxing and First Impressions

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – Box

Starting off our Samsung Galaxy A35 review with the unboxing, it comes in your standard, minimalist white box that looks pretty much the same as previous Galaxy A devices. It’s practically similar to the A55 if you don’t like at the model printed on the front of the box. Just like last year, the box is thin and at this point, practically everyone knows why. If not, you will find out in just a bit.

Samsung Galaxy A35 Unboxing and First Impressions

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – Box content

Inside the box, you can find the following items:

  • Documentations
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • SIM ejector tool
  • The Samsung Galaxy A35 smartphone itself

Specifications

Processor Exynos 1380
4 x Cortex-A78 @ 2.4GHz + 4 x Cortex-A55 @ 2GHz
5nm
GPU Mali-G68 MP5
RAM 6GB / 8GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Bluetooth 5.3, A2DP, LE
USB Type-C 2.0, OTG
GPS, Glonass, BDS, Galileo, QZSS
NFC
5G
Virtual Proximity Sensing
Storage 128GB / 256GB
Up to 1TB expandable storage (MicroSD)
Display 6.6″ FHD+ (2340 x 1080) Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display
Up to 120Hz Refresh Rate
1000nits (HBM)
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+
Rear Camera 50MP f/1.8 wide angle camera, OIS, PDAF
8MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera, 123°
5MP f/2.4 macro, fixed focus
LED flash, panorama, 12-bit HDR, gyro-EIS
AI Image Signal Processing (ISP)
Selfie Camera 13MP f/2.2 wide-angle selfie cam, HDR
Battery 5000mAh
25W Fast Charging
OS One UI 6.1
Android 14
Ingress Protection IP67
Dimensions 161.7 x 78 x 8.2 mm, 209g
Colours Awesome IceBlue, Awesome Lilac, Awesome Navy

Performance

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – Antutu v10

In Antutu v10, the Samsung Galaxy A35 performed as you’d expect from a midrange device from last year. This shouldn’t be a surprise since it’s powered by last year’s midrange chip, the Exynos 1380, as opposed to the A55 getting this year’s Exynos 1480. This isn’t a bad thing however, as it still performs well enough and notably a league above entry-level smartphones, especially considering that it’s also more affordable than the A55 by about RM300.

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – Geekbench 6

In Geekbench 6, the difference with its A55 brethren isn’t big but it’s to be expected since both chips use the same CPU configuration, just that the newer chip has a higher clock speed and is fabricated on a 4nm process, making it more efficient. It’s more than enough, especially given its price and how last year’s flagships aren’t too far off as far as CPU performance goes.

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – 3DMark

Moving on to 3DMark, it scores rather low since Wild Life and Wild Like Extreme are resource-intensive in terms of graphical performance. Even the newer Exynos 1480 with its AMD RDNA 2-based Xclipse GPU didn’t fare that much better either. This is by no indication means you can’t play mobile games on it, just that it can get laggy for certain games like Genshin Impact unless you turn down the settings quite a bit.

It can’t run Solar Bay as the Exynos 1380 lacks ray tracing capabilities needed for it. There are no signs of thermal throttling as its efficiency rating was listed at 99.4% for the stress test, an excellent score as it indicates consistent performance throughout, and only a 0.2% difference with the A55, making it negligible.

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – PCMark

Lastly on PCMark’s Work 3.0 benchmark, it’s interesting how the Galaxy A35 scored higher than the A55 despite the latter rocking a newer, slightly more beefed up chip, the difference here is negligible. In simpler terms, the performance of both smartphones as a daily driver should be practically identical, but since it has 6GBs of RAM as opposed to the A55’s 8GB RAM, it should be easier to multitask on the latter.

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – Battery endurance test

For those wondering about its battery life, the Samsung Galaxy A35 performed well enough as it lasted 11 hours and 31 minutes (691 minutes) in PCMark’s Work 3.0 endurance test before it died out. From my own usage, I can easily go a full day, but going for two days will be a challenge unless you barely use it. What is disappointing however is the charging speed, the results of which I’ve posted right below here using a 100W GaN charger from 2% battery life:

  • 15 minutes = 28% battery life
  • 30 minutes = 54% battery life
  • 45 minutes = 77% battery life
  • 60 minutes = 91% battery life
  • 75 minutes = 97% battery life
  • 82 minutes = 100% battery life

It only supports up to 25W for charging, in case you’re wondering why it’s slow despite having a 100W charger to juice it up.

If you want to compare it to the Galaxy A55, click right here.

Camera

The camera setup on the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G is undeniably impressive for its price. Initially, I expected grainy and dull photos, but the 50MP main camera surprised me with its pleasing results. Over the years, Samsung’s processing has evidently improved, allowing even a midrange device to capture stunning shots with remarkable dynamic range, exceeding its price point but still a step below your average flagship. The ultrawide camera produces nearly as good results, albeit with minor distortions and slightly softer details and less vibrant colors.

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review -

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – Triple camera setup

However, the macro camera feels redundant. While it offers close-up shots, the main camera can deliver similar results with better quality. Moreover, relying on the macro camera often leads to grainier or poorly exposed shots, lacking sharp focus due to the absence of autofocus. On the other hand, the 32MP selfie camera performs decently, but the software optimization needs a bit more work. It tends to overly soften and whiten the skin, resulting in a somewhat unnatural appearance and it cannot be adjusted / disabled. Despite its flaws, unlike the macro camera, the selfie camera still holds practical value.

The Good

Samsung Galaxy A35 Unboxing and First Impressions

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – Display

There are a number of good reasons to consider getting the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G. For starters, the build quality is pretty solid despite having a plastic chassis. Sure, the A55 and its aluminum chassis is a step above but this is by no means bad for the A35. It’s a rather solid piece of plastic along with Gorilla Glass Victus+ on the display and rear, and with IP67 dust and water resistance rating. Like the A55, the Key Island design makes it more comfortable to hold.

It shares the same Super AMOLED display as the A55, sitting at 6.6-inches, and comes with adaptive 120Hz refresh rate at Full HD+ resolution, complete with HDR10+. It’s still good but we’ve been spoiled by Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED 2x. It also has a similar dual speaker setup but not as balanced as the A55. It seems that the bottom-firing speaker is a little louder than the earpiece, though the quality isn’t miles apart. It’s still pretty clear with a hint of bass in it, but don’t put it at max volume or close as the highs start to suffer at that point. For most people, it’s hard to tell the difference between the A55 and the A35 in this regard.

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review -

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – SIM card / microSD tray

One feature that I’m thrilled to see present here is expandable storage via microSD. 128GB isn’t big in this day and age and 256GB may be enough for a lot of people but for power users or people who like storing a lot of media in their phones or simply capturing a lot of photos / videos, you can add up to 1TB of storage into this. Furthermore, it can be more convenient for certain users to share / transfer data out with a microSD as opposed to direct USB connection, cloud sharing, or other similar methods.

Samsung Galaxy A55 Review -

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – Knox Vault

One new thing for the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G, along with other A series devices for this year, is Knox Vault. It’s a hardware-based security operating separately from the main system’s processor and memory, which (ideally) reduces the attack surfaces via exploits. To further strengthen the security, the optional Auto Blocker feature can block unknown apps, commands, as well as executions from USB connections. A lot of people won’t necessarily feel it but having such a strong security feature being made available for a wider variety of devices, not just flagships, is always a great move as it benefits even more people.

Lastly, One UI has come a long way and matured into a reliable, smooth Android user interface. Now at One UI 6.1, there are a number of features and ways to go about multitasking that makes the whole experience more efficient, and it’s generally user-friendly as well. Sure, there’s some level of bloatware still but it’s far lesser than before and it’s well worth what you’re getting out of the device. Furthermore, you can enjoy a healthy amount of support for it as it’s guaranteed to come with 4 major Android OS upgrades and 5 years of security updates, so long term use will not be an issue.

The Bad

Samsung Galaxy A55 Review -

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review – A55 and A35 have rather thick bezels for this day and age

As good as the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G is, it does have its share of drawbacks. For starters, while the display quality is pretty good since its Super AMOLED, I don’t like the thick bezels around it. It’s not entirely hideous but in this day and age, it certainly does look rather unpleasing to the eyes and a bit out of place. It feels like you would see this bezel on a standard flagship from 3, if not 4 years ago, making it look quite a bit outdated but hey, this is an affordable midrange smartphone so it’s easily forgivable.

Lastly, and this is a minor annoyance in practice, is the lack of a hardware proximity sensor. The Samsung Galaxy A55 uses a virtual one, meaning that it uses its gyroscope and accelerometer to sense when the phone is raised to the ear. This results in an inconsistent experience when it comes to the screen turning on / off during calls, along with the occasional mistouch every now and then. It’s not a dealbreaker, at least for me, but one would think they’d go for a hardware one for this caliber at least. It’s certainly a measure implemented in order to keep costs low.

Samsung Galaxy A35 Verdict

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review -

Samsung Galaxy A35 Review

The Samsung Galaxy A35 5G is designed for those who want a modern smartphone experience without breaking the bank. I would tell you to spend a little extra for the better build quality and newer chip, but since this one doesn’t have any issues with the fingerprint scanner and the performance difference isn’t day and night, this might be the better buy. After all, it’s a midrange smartphone with a solid value proposition at RM1,699.

At the end of our Samsung Galaxy A35 review, I award this smartphone with our Silver Pokdeward.

Big thanks to Samsung Malaysia for sending us this smartphone for this review.

About The Author
Aiman Maulana
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. YouTuber, video editor, tech head, and a wizard of gaming. What's up? :)